It’s almost farcical that a movie exploring the origins of the anti-establishment ethos of the French New Wave is presented in such a rigid, academic way. But while director Emmanuel Laurent restrains this history by depending strictly on archival interviews in Two in the Wave, there are a few gems of cinematic lore to be found in this tale of the rise and fall of the friendship of François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard: the working-class Parisian who drifted in and out of the French penal system (Truffaut) and the son of wealthy industrialists who grew up on Swiss lakeshores admiring American cars (Godard). Covered at length are their frustrations with France’s post-war studio system leading to their breakouts in The 400 Blows and Breathless, as are their collaborations through 1968, when the New Wave attached itself to that year’s student protests, from which Godard has never really returned.

“TWO IN THE WAVE” SHOWS AT 4:30 P.M. AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART EAST BUILDING, 4TH ST. AND CONSTITUTION AVE. NW. FREE.